Clash of the Titans: Goodbye to the Kenworth K200

By: Matt Wood


There are plenty of custom touches on this jigger now. There are plenty of custom touches on this jigger now. There are plenty of custom touches on this jigger now.
From left, owner Wayne Hawkes, some bald dude aka Matt Wood, manager Jane Hawkes, Kenworth salesman Ron Ludbrook with operations manager Dayne Ilse and my truck. From left, owner Wayne Hawkes, some bald dude aka Matt Wood, manager Jane Hawkes, Kenworth salesman Ron Ludbrook with operations manager Dayne Ilse and my truck. From left, owner Wayne Hawkes, some bald dude aka Matt Wood, manager Jane Hawkes, Kenworth salesman Ron Ludbrook with operations manager Dayne Ilse and my truck.
The Woody in its former glory. The Woody in its former glory. The Woody in its former glory.
 Ron Ludbrook explains the facts of life at the Woody’s conception. Ron Ludbrook explains the facts of life at the Woody’s conception.  Ron Ludbrook explains the facts of life at the Woody’s conception.
How the Woody was born in Bayswater. How the Woody was born in Bayswater. How the Woody was born in Bayswater.
Woody Wagon Clash of the Titans Kenworth K200 Matt Wood TradeTrucks7 Woody Wagon Clash of the Titans Kenworth K200 Matt Wood TradeTrucks7
Woody Wagon Clash of the Titans Kenworth K200 Matt Wood TradeTrucks8 Woody Wagon Clash of the Titans Kenworth K200 Matt Wood TradeTrucks8
The name lives on. The name lives on. The name lives on.

When our Kenworth K200 Woody Wagon found a new home, it was like farewelling an old friend

It was always going to happen. I knew one day I’d have to say goodbye to the Woody Wagon, that is unless I could come up with some cash and head back out onto the highway.

This, given my new found fondness for a thing called sleep, probably wasn’t going to be an option.

The journey

As part of the Clash of the Titans gig, I’d followed the journey of the truck that had started out as an idea, an order and a spec sheet on Kenworth salesman Ron Ludbrook’s desk.

A diesel and chrome-fuelled fantasy that I’d seen take shape in Kenworth’s Bayswater factory.

My name was on the side, it was my colour and I even got to clock up some highway ks behind the wheel.

Along the way I’d gained a small insight into the Kenworth customer experience, but without the price tag.

In the end, though, my big shiny banger needed a new home. And I was there to meet the new owners of my shiny K200 as they took possession of the keys. Woody was going to have to work for a living.

 

Ron Ludbrook explains the facts of life at the Woody’s conception.

 

Horse power

Wayne Hawkes is better known for racehorse training, he has however, had a long time interest in trucks.

Hawkes and his wife Jane own Tailored Freight, a small fleet of six trucks that specialise in getting fresh produce to market and distribution centres (DCs).

Even though he hails from a horse racing background, the truck bug bit Hawkes early.

"From the age of 10 through to 16, I used to work for Goldners Horse Transport in the school holidays," Hawkes says.

"I’d come on trips with the blokes from Adelaide to Melbourne, I’d go with him and help him on the trip."

Grand trucking plans were being laid, even back then.

"My brother was going to be a diesel mechanic and I was going to own the largest horse float company in Australia."

He even fondly recalls tackling South Australia’s Accommodation Hill on the Sturt Highway with a Road Ranger transmission for the first time as a teenager.

 

The Woody in its former glory.

 

Management team

Hawkes admits he really takes a back seat in the running of the business.

Operations manager Dayne Ilse handles the day-to-day running of the trucks, while Jane Hawkes keeps the office, finance and overall books of the company ticking over.

Some of Tailored Freight’s clients include Aldi, Woolworths and Coles.

Jane Hawkes doesn’t hail from a transport background but does admit she’s becoming more and more truck focused herself.

Wayne Hawkes says out of the two of them, Jane Hawkes is the one that’s always checking out trucks as they roll past on the highway.

Ilse is quite a busy fella, and just a little truck obsessed.

He juggles his duties as operations manager with running his own freight forwarding company, and when he’s not doing that he can even be found behind the wheel of a company truck on occasion.

Tailored Freight is known for its immaculate and highly accessorised gear, so before it was delivered to its new home, my K200 was shipped off to well-known Lara-based Klos Custom Trucks for some extra bling.

"I just like the way they do trucks," Ilse says.

While Tiger Mica may have been my preferred colour for a truck, the Woody was given some new powder-blue war paint, the striking Tailored Freight fleet colour scheme. 

Ilse was initially keen to keep the truck in its original colour scheme as a ‘one-off’ in the fleet, however Jane Hawkes rightly intervened pointing out the sparkly burnt orange wouldn’t match the smartly presented company trailer sets.

 

From left, owner Wayne Hawkes, some bald dude aka Matt Wood, manager Jane Hawkes, Kenworth salesman Ron Ludbrook with operations manager Dayne Ilse and my truck.

 

Stunning looks

The result is a stunning looking prime mover.

The detail that has been added to this K2 is quite sensational, right down to the custom grille bars and hand-painted Kenworth bug on the front.

A steering wheel from a T909 Director was also added inside.

When I’d been ticking the order boxes I’d opted for Sandstone trim inside, however the Tailored Freight team changed the door trims to black to eliminate boot scuffing on the inside of the doors.

Custom stainless was also added, including the obligatory bad boy sun visor to give the cab-over a tough profile. Custom bullet clearance lights were also added to emphasise the retro feel of the look, and for good measure an imposing dozer blade bar was added to the front.

Even the fuel tank ends were painted in the distinctive fleet colour, it seemed as if everywhere I looked there was a new detail.

Business model

Both Jane Hawkes and Ilse agree the colour and bling are a part of Tailored Freight’s branding.

"The look of the truck completes the business model," Jane Hawkes says.

"We wanted an image that said that we were a quality transport company for the fruit and veg market."

Ilse agrees the image works for them.

"I get e-mails from customers all the time saying that our trucks look great.

"It’s an image now and it definitely works.

"They stand out at the markets and it’s good for business."

The fleet mainly runs intrastate and regional, which involves quite a lot of city driving.

As a result, the entire fleet runs automated transmissions, and Wayne Hawkes and Ilse are both adamant it pays dividends in terms of maintenance and reliability.

The company trucks may not run huge distances but they do keep working seven days a week with rotating drivers.

This means the drivers are actually still living in the trucks, which explains the big bunks and high level of spec in the fleet.

"We spec up microwaves and fridges in all of our trucks," Ilse says.

The trucks do run interstate on occasion.

"Though if they do they’re generally carrying freight on behalf of my forwarding business."

 

 The Woody name continues.

 

Name lives on

Every truck in the Tailored Freight fleet has a name, and it was decided that this one would stay the Woody.

While the colour may have changed, my name lives on, etched in stainless steel, and I must say I was quite chuffed about that.

Then the time came to hand over the keys.

We strolled out into the winter sunshine at the Melbourne Kenworth and DAF dealership and admired the Woody Wagon that sat resplendent in its new clothes.

I kept finding new little custom touches on the truck and Ilse and Jane Hawkes just kept on glancing at the truck and smiling.

In fact Ilse was planning to take the wheel himself that very weekend for a trip.

It was time for me to leave.

The next time I saw my truck it would be rumbling down the highway with a B-double set on behind it.

I shook everyone’s hand and said my goodbyes before giving the blue K2 one final look. Just before I walked away Wayne  Hawkes turned to me with a larrikin grin and said: "Well you built the truck that you always wanted … and I got the bill."

 

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